Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter Egg Hunt

Today we went on the Easter Egg hunt at Wimpole.

 We had to look for (none to tricky) hens with letters on which made a word.
 When we had made the word the girls got a chocolate rabbit!
 We had lot of fun in the sun and G and P even found a ladybird!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter Baking

Today we a whole day of Easter baking:

First was Easter Biscuits:


  • 100g butter 
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, separated
  • 1 small lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g  currants
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • caster sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven 180C. Line 3 baking trays with non-stick paper.
  2. Measure the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream until well combined and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and lemon zest. Sift in the flour and mix well to combine. Stir in the currants and enough milk to make a fairly soft dough.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough until about 5mm/¼in thick. Using Easter cutters, cut out biscuits. Transfer to the baking trays using a palette knife.
  4. Bake the biscuits for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg white using a fork.
  5. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush the tops with beaten egg white. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and return to the oven for further 5 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and cooked though. Leave to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then carefully lift on to a wire rack to cool completely.

 Then we made Italian Easter Bread

• 125ml whole milk
• 10g dried active yeast
• 500g strong bread flour
• A pinch of salt
• 50g golden caster sugar
• A pinch of ground star anise
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• Vegetable oil, for greasing the cling film
• 100g butter, melted
• Icing sugar
 • Coloured sprinkles
 Coloured eggs
• 6 hard-boiled white or pale eggs, plus one extra for brushing
• Natural food colouring
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar


1. Gently warm the milk through in a pan and whisk in the yeast. Set aside for 5–10 minutes, until it begins to froth.
2. Meanwhile, add the flour, salt, sugar, star anise and orange zest to a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3. Whisk half of the orange juice, the melted butter and eggs into the yeasty milk, then pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until combined.
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Pop the dough in a bowl, cover with oiled cling film and place in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
5. Meanwhile, dye your eggs. Place 2 tablespoons of your food colouring in a jar with the vinegar and 250ml of hot water. Pop in your boiled eggs, one or two at a time, and leave for 5 minutes, or longer, depending on the colour. (Alternatively, cover your egg carefully with edible gold leaf.) Remove the eggs with a spoon and carefully place on a cooling rack to dry.
6. Preheat the oven to 190C. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each one into 2.5cm-thick rope.
7. Take two pieces of dough and pinch the ends together. Twist them over each other to form a braid, then pinch the other ends to seal.
8. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover with more oiled cling film and leave to prove for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
9. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden, then leave on a rack to cool to room temperature.
10.  Cover with glace icing and sprinkles.  

We made Mary Berry's Simnel cake:


  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 225g butter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g  sultanas
  • 100g  currants
  • 50g chopped candied peel
  • 2 lemons, grated zest only
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 450g marzipan
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/280F/Gas 2. Grease and line a 20cm/ 8in cake tin.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper.
  3. Place the cherries in a bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice and beat well until thoroughly mixed. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.
  4. Take one-third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin and then place on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 2½ hours, or until well risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. Cover with aluminium foil after one hour if the top is browning too quickly. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  6. When the cake is cool, brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam and roll out half the remaining marzipan to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls.
  7. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg and then carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is lightly toasted.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A spring walk and den making

Today we went for a walk to the Beech Woods and on the way looked for signs of spring:

Then the girls made and found dens in the woods:

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Chocolate mini-egg Cookies

Today we made these Easter themed cookies.

  • 225g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g butter, room temperature
  • 110g light brown sugar
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 130g plain flour
  • 35g cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 packets of 90g mini-eggs, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat oven to180oC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in your microwave (careful not to burn or overheat it!). Add butter and sugars to a medium-size bowl and cream together. Add eggs, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat until well combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together. Add to the chocolate batter and mix just until combined (don't over mix).
  4. Roughly chop the chocolate mini-eggs. Add them to the batter.
  5.  Spoon the dough into large 1 1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are barely set. Don't be tempted to over-bake them--they may look a little doughy, but they'll harden as they cool. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Cambridge Science Festival - First Saturday

Today was the main day at the Cambridge Science Festival where there are Free lectures, drop-in sessions and hands-on sessions are on offer as museums and labs open their doors.             

We started the day with the engineering department making a fixed wing aircraft which uses the energy stored in a rubber strip to drive a propeller and pull it through the air (or at least that was the idea) :).  It was great fun and all the girls were able to make something that flew.            

 We then went to lecture about parasites before losing the big girls riding, which left P, E and me to visit the chemistry department where we made goo, extracted strawberry DNA, saw a superconductor, explored  density, and ate ice-cream made by liquid nitrogen amongst other things.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Mother's Day Buns

My Dad always made a massive celebration out of Mother's Day for my mother - he would ply her with champagne, chocolates, breakfast in bed and always a meal out.... I have to make do with a school made card from the youngest and then G always makes something creative!  Anyway I mustn't moan as this year I did also get the ladybird book - mum!which is so true it made my spit my tea out I was laughing so much!

I also made Mother's Day buns which are a speciality of Bristol, made by local bakers the day before Mothering Sunday. Traditionally, on this day only, the Lent fast was relaxed. The buns used to be decorated with caraway or aniseed; today, hundreds and thousands are used.

500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
7g sachet instant yeast
50g unsalted butter, diced and softened
300ml water
200g icing sugar
2–3 tbsp water

1. Put the flour in a large bowl. Add the salt and sugar on one side, the yeast on the other. Add the butter and three-quarters of the water, then turn the mixture round with the fingers of one hand. Add the remaining water a little at a time, mixing until you have taken in all the flour and the dough is soft and slightly sticky; you might not need all the water.
2. Oil the work surface to stop the dough sticking. Turn out the dough and knead for 5 mins, or until smooth and no longer sticky. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to it and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Line 2 baking trays
with baking parchment.
3. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and fold it inwards repeatedly until all the air has been
knocked out and the dough is smooth. Divide into 12 pieces.
4. Roll each piece into a ball by placing it into a cage formed by your hand on the work surface and moving your hand in a circular motion, rotating the ball rapidly.
5. Put the balls of dough on the prepared baking trays, spacing them slightly apart. (They should just touch each other when they have risen.) Place each tray in a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for about 40 mins, until the rolls have doubled in size. Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200/425F.
6. Bake for 10–12 mins, until the rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
7. For the icing, mix the icing sugar with enough water to give a thick but pourable consistency. Dip each roll into the icing and then into the hundreds and thousands.

Recipe taken from Paul Hollywood’s British Baking

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Phases of the Moon

E is working towards her stargazer badge for Brownies so as part of this we looked at phases of the moon. We learnt that:

We can only see half of the moon from earth, since the other side is always turned away from us.

As the moon travels around the earth, we see different fractions of the moon, as it is lit by the sun.

“Waxing” means growing and is used to describe the moon as it grows from new moon to full moon.

 “Waning” means shrinking and is used to describe the moon as it gets smaller from full moon to new moon.

The “first quarter” is when the moon has completed ¼ of its orbit around the earth. This is when the moon looks like a “half moon.”

The “last quarter” is when the moon has completed ¾ of its orbit around the earth and also looks like a “half moon” to us.

We used Oreo cookies to show the phases of the moon. First we had to split them (this resulted in some broken ones - however lucky we just ate them :) ).  Apparently cooling them in the fridge helps makes this easier!.

Then looking at a book for guidance, we recreated each phase in the frosting by scraping some away using a plastic spoon.

E then labelled them and took a photo of it, before eating the moons !